Two Columbus City Schools board members to conclude terms in 2019

On Wednesday afternoon, Gary Baker II and W. Shawna Gibbs announced their plans to step away from the Columbus City Schools Board of Education at the end of their current terms in December. Baker, the board’s president, has served since 2008, and Gibbs, the longest-serving member, joined in 2007.

The announcement comes after other high-profile departures from the seven-member board in recent months. Last September, Dominic Paretti resigned amid allegations he sent lewd texts to co-workers in the Ohio House of Representatives. Then, on Dec. 6, Mary Jo Hudson also quit suddenly, citing her mounting frustration with board leadership and a 4-3 split among members on important votes. Baker and Gibbs were in that majority bloc, and Hudson’s resignation came two days after Baker repeatedly gaveled her down in a meeting.

The Columbus school district is also preparing for the arrival of new superintendent Talisa Dixon, who will begin full time in early March. The board voted unanimously to hire Dixon in September 2018 after scrapping a previous superintendent search when then-Auditor Dave Yost stepped in to investigate whether the board had violated Ohio’s Open Meetings Act during the search.

In the January issue, Columbus Monthly covered that tumultuous process and the challenges ahead for Dixon, as the district faces a potential state takeover.

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